Cultural & Heritage Tour

This Cultural and Heritage tour of 08 days, Sri Lanka Holiday tour package, is well designed for those who love cultural and heritage sites. This tour package covers almost all the cultural and heritage sites plus wildlife and many other interesting places in Sri Lanka. No doubt if you are a cultural lover that you will certainly enjoy this tour, during your holiday in Sri Lanka, and will realize that Excellent Lanka Tours & Travels have done a great job to make your tour success in Sri Lanka.

Hotels Category: Economy / Standard / Luxury

Duration: 07 Nights / 08 Days

(Areas: Negombo, Ridigama, Aukana, Anuradhapura, Mihintale, Ritigala, Polonnaruwa, Sigiriya, Dambulla, Kandy,Pinnawala, Airport)

Day 01 – Airport / Negombo

Arrival at the Colombo Airport You will be met by our English speaking chauffeur Guide /Representative and will offer assistance. Thereafter leave for Negombo (10 km – transfer time approx. 30 minutes)
P.M. City Tour of Negombo is a charismatic fishing town north of Colombo, located a mere 10km from the international airport. Set amidst lush groves of coconut palms, it breathes the spirit of the sea. Negombo is a gourmet’s paradise with sea food aplenty. Old – world fishing craft, like the outrigger canoe and the catamaran, bring seer, skip jack, herring, mullet and amber jack, while lobster and prawn are caught in the lagoon

Overnight stay at hotel in Negombo

Day 02 – Ridigama / Monaragala / Aukana / Anuradhapura

After breakfast leave for Anuradhapura (220 km – transfer time approx. 05 hours)

En-route visit Ridi Viharaya or the (Silver Temple) was built at the place where Silver ore was found 2300 years back, that was made used to build Ruwanweli Dageba at Anuradhapura by King Dutugemunu during his reign.

Ridi Vihara which is built under a rock outcrop which stands about 200 feet high from the surrounding area.

Ridi Vihara is an important Raja Maha Vihara belonging to the Cultural Triangle. Historical Data on this Monastery complex is found in some Caves written in Brahmin Inscriptions. They date back to the 2nd and 3rd Centuries BC. During the time of Arahath Mahinda, many Arahaths are believed to be resided in these caves which numbers around twenty five in the surrounding area of Ridi Vihara and Rambadagalla area. The caves had been prepared by cutting into the rock and donated by chieftains of the area to the Sangha.

Thereafter visit Rambodagalla Buddha Statue is the largest granite Buddha statue in Sri Lanka. This statue is located in Monaragala Temple.

One of the most incredible creation and the largest granite statue in the world is nearing its completion in the sacred premises of Vidyasagara Piriven Vihare Monaragala, Rambodagalla, Kurunegala which is 67.5 feet high with a marvelous carving on a huge rock standing in the temple garden. Sculpturing was initiated in the year 2002 September by Indian Award winner M.M. Sthapathi, the most renowned sculptor from Bharatha and the veteran artist who is entrusted with the responsibility of the carving of massive Buddha statue utilizing the coarse and stiff stone rock.

Next visit Aukana Buddha Statue; carved out of the living rock with supreme assurance, Aukana Buddha is a magnificent image. His expression is serene & from his curled hair there sprouts the flame called siraspata signifying the power of supreme enlightenment. Although the statue is large & stands straight up with feet firmly planted on the lotus stone pedestal, the body retains a graceful quality enhanced by beautifully flowing drapery clinging to the body.

Overnight stay at hotel in Anuradhapura

Day 03 – Isurumuniya / Anuradhapura / Mihintale

After breakfast visit Isurumuniya Viharaya is renowned for its stone carvings of which the most famous is one known as the 'Isurumuniya Lovers'. The other carvings are of the Horseman, Elephant Pond and the Royal Family.

Thereafter visit the ruins of the first capital founded in the 05th century B.C. here is found the largest number of ancient monuments of a great civilization. 'Sri Mahabodhi' the oldest historically documented tree in the world is over 2200 years.There are monuments such as uwanveliseyadageba, 2nd century B.C. with its famous Elephant wall; Thuparamadageba 3rd century B.C. The pillars of the brazen palace which once had nine storey's; the image of the Samadhi Buddha, one of the finest places of Buddhistsculpture,Jetawanaramaya, Aukana Buddha Statue, the twin ponds; guard stones & moonstones.

Next visit Mihintale. In 247 B.C. Buddhism was first introduced to Sri Lanka on the mountain of Mihintale. Since then, various kings of Sri Lanka have blessed this rock with magnificent masterpieces of architecture. These Include a hospital, a monastic complex, stupas and dagebas. While some of these structures are in an almost perfect state of preservation, some others are in complete ruin. The most spectacular of these is the KantakaChaitiya, which displays some of the finest architecture of the early Anuradhapura era.

Overnight stay at hotel in Anuradhapura

Day 04 – Ritigala / Polonnaruwa

After breakfast leave for Polonnaruwa (110 km – transfer time approx. 03 hours)

En-rouie visit Ritigala is an ancient Buddhist monastery, and mountain in Sri Lanka. The ruins and rock inscriptions of the monastery date back to 1st century BCE

Next visit The city of Polonnaruwa, 2nd capital of Singhalese kings dating back to the 11th & 12th century A.D the entire landscape of the region is punctuated by huge man-made reservoirs, the most Famous of which is the 'Parakrama Samudra'. Numerous monuments are found in this city and'Galvihara' complex is one of the best among them with the fine sculptures of the recumbent, standing and seated Buddha's. also the ruins of the King’s Council Chamber, the Royal Citadel, the Kumara Pokuna, Royal Pavilion, the Vatadage Relic House , Kiri Vehera – the best preserved of all Sri Lanka’s un-restored dagabas

Overnight stay at hotel in Habarana / Sigiriya

Day 05 – Sigiriya / Minneriya

After breakfast leave climb the Rock Fortress of Sigiriya. Sigiriya is a massive monolith of red stone rises 600 feet from the green scrub jungle to accentuate the lucid blue of the sky. How overpowering, then, this rock fortress of Sigiriya must have been when a palace crowned it 15 centuries ago. Sigiriya was no gloomy and forbidding fortification, as many other citadels are. At the brief height of its glory, a flowering of only 18 years in the late 5th Century, it was one of the loveliest royal cities that ever graced the earth. Sigiriya built by the patricide king Kashyapa in the 5th century A.D today it is a treasure trove of rare art. In a pocket of the giant rock are the famous frescoes of the 'heavenly maidens of Sigiriya'.

(3:00 p.m.) Minneriya National Park Wild Life Safari by Jeep

Located between Habarana and POLONNARUWA, the 8890 hectares of MINNERIYA NATIONAL PARK is an ideal eco tourism location in Sri Lanka. The park consists of mixed evergreen forest and scrub areas and is home to Sri Lanka's favorites such as sambar Deer andElephants.However the central feature of the park is the ancient Minneriya Tank (built in 3rdcentury AD by King Mahasena). During the dry season (June to September), this tank is an incredible place to observe the elephants who come to bathe and graze on the grasses as well as the huge flocks of birds (cormorants and painted storks to name but a few) that come to fish in the shallow waters.

Overnight stay at hotel in Habarana / Sigiriya

Day 06 – Dambulla / Matale / Kandy

After breakfast leave for Kandy (90 km – transfer time approx. 02 hours)

En-route visit the Rock cave temple of Dambulla a vast isolated rock mass 500 ft and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It was here that King Valagambahu took refuge in the 1st century B.C. The view from the top of this rock is breathtaking 350 ft. above are a series of five caves which was later turned into a magnificent rock temple by King Valagambahu. In the first cave is a recumbent image of the Buddha 47 ft, long, cut out from the rock there are images of deities associated with Buddhism. The frescoes on the walls and ceiling could be dated to the 15th – 18th centuries. In the second cave, the finest and the largest the ceiling too is covered with frescoes, which depict great events in the life of the Buddha, and landmarks in the history of the Sinhala. On the way visit Spice Garden, Batik Factory (optional)

Next visit Nalanda Gedige the “Abu Simbel” of Sri Lanka Nalanda Gedige is an ancient building completely made of stones which is located near Matale. Influenced by Hindu constructional concepts. Nalanda Gedige was believed to be a Hindu temple centuries ago. However there are no signs of Hindu gods to be found today. But there are a few Buddhist carvings to be found.

At 5:00 pm witness a Cultural Performance. Traditional Kandyan and Low Country Dances of Sri Lanka (Blowing of the conch-Shell and Drum Orchestra, Pooja Dance, Panteru Netum, Cobra Dance, Mask Dance, Mayura Vannama, Raban Dance, Ves Dance, Fire Dance, Fire Walking)

Overnight stay at hotel in Kandy

Day 07 – Kandy / Pilimathalawa

After breakfast visit the Temple of the sacred Tooth Relic Puja ceremony at 9:30 am. Dalada Maligawa. The Temple of the sacred Tooth Relic in Kandy is the most venerated place of worship for Buddhists throughout the world. Built in the 16th century this temple houses the sacred Tooth Relic of the Buddha brought to Sri Lanka from the Kalinga province in ancient India in the 4th century AD. Several buildings have been added to the temple complex by successive rulers, the latest being the Golden Canopy over the inner shrine where the Tooth Relic is placed. Originally the Temple was within the King’s palace complex as it was the Symbol of Royal Authority.

Next visit three of the most ancient and interesting temples in the central highlands. All of the temples were built in the 14th century, before the Kandyan Kingdom was fully established.

Gadaladeniya Rajamaha Viharaya with an ancient monastery is found on the flat rock at Diggala in the district of Kandy. According to a inscription there this temple was built by King Buwanekabahu IV in the year 1344. The chief architect of this temple has been a south Indian called Ganesvarachari. Therefore this temple is essentially a South Indian design.

Lankathilake is an ancient temple tall and looming on top of its rocky perch, with nothing in sight except pristine nature, inside the temple was high-ceilinged and dark, with a massive Buddha as its centerpiece. Outside the shrine, a roped-off section in the stone protected a 14th-century engraving recording the construction of the temple.

Embekke Devalaya is famous for the intricately carved wooden pillars of its digger, or drum hall. These were incredible; each pillar had a different pattern carved into each of its four sides. Wrestlers, stick dancers, warriors, elephants, lions, peacocks and flowers.

Overnight stay at hotel in Kandy

Day 08 – Kandy / Peradeniya / Pinnawala / Airport

After breakfast leave for Airport (120 km – transfer time approx. 03 hours)

En-route visit Royal Botanical Garden the most beautiful in the world and begun as a pleasure garden by a Sinhala King. Every variety tropical and temperate tree and flower is cultivated here and special houses with orchids and e cacti are too beautiful to be true.

Next visit Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage in time to witness the bathing and bottle feeding of baby elephants at 1.15 p.m. This orphanage was established to feed nurse and house young elephants found abandoned by their mothers. Often the young ones fall into pits and ravines in their request for water during drought period. The Elephants bathe in rivers and Baby Elephants can be seen fed with milk.

Thereafter transfer to the Airport for the connecting Flight. (Departure)